Goa’s newest gin promises a happy high

Satiwa is a London Dry gin with hemp as one of its key botanicals.
Satiwa is the latest entrant on the booming gin scene.
Satiwa is Goan at heart and stars organic hemp as a key botanical.

There’s no denying that gin is still enjoying its time in the sun. There are exclusive gin events hosted almost consecutively, featuring everything from bar takeovers with curated gin cocktails to special menus

Meanwhile, homegrown brands continue to expand their reach both within India and abroad, successfully acquiring funding. Soon, supermarket shelves in India’s favourite gin destination, Goa, will see another gin vying for space and attention.

It’s time to make way for Satiwa, a London Dry gin that’s Goan at heart, and stars organic hemp as a key botanical. The gin comes from Soma, a new brand from Adwalpalkar Construction and Hospitality, dedicated to alcohol. Given the key ingredients, it’s unsurprisingly cheeky for the brand’s tagline to be The Happy High Gin.

Cannabis sativa or hemp plant is a cultivation of the marijuana strain, and is long believed to have medicinal benefits. It is finding some favour in India through products like protein powder, flour, and clothing. In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) classifies hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and hemp seed flour as food. 

A cultivation of the marijuana strain, cannabis or hemp makes for the key botanical in satiwa.
A cultivation of the marijuana strain, cannabis or hemp makes for the key botanical in Satiwa.

“We wanted to have that one unique ingredient in our gin and decided on hemp. It’s still an unfamiliar ingredient to many and it does add a spicy, nutty flavour to the gin,” says Rohan Barbosa, Mixologist and Brand Ambassador for Satiwa.

Satiwa is a gin that predominantly wishes to champion hemp as an ingredient. “There’s a stigma and many misconceptions about hemp, when it is a product that is actually good for your health. We want to convey this to people and educate them on the properties and benefits,” says Sahil Adwalpalkar, Director, Adwalpalkar Construction and Hospitality. 

They source organic hemp from Uttarakhand. The other ingredients — coriander seeds, black pepper, rose petals, orange peels, Angelica root, cardamom and cinnamon — come from across India.

Satiwa is created at Naveen Distilleries in Margao, having teamed up with a Russian distiller to fine tune the recipe. The process took three months and involved as many as eight iterations! Barbosa and Sahil worked closely to finalise the recipe; with the former currently curating a list of cocktails for the launch. He recommends drinking it with rosemary, grapefruit, or a slice of orange. “It works well with plain soda or regular tonic. It doesn’t need much to enhance it,” Sahil adds.

Satiwa is a light and fruity gun, balanced by the nuttiness of the hemp used.
Satiwa is a light and fruity gin, balanced by the nuttiness of the hemp used.

The gin comes in a bottle decorated with colourful leaves, with the marijuana plant prominently displayed. When it comes to the tasting notes, the gin itself is light, fruity and floral on the nose, with a faint sweetness that gets mellowed with the addition of water.

In an already crowded gin market, what made the group decide to launch a new product? “Yes, the market is crowded, but that is true of any industry. On the plus side, we are launching in a tried and tested market. On our part, we will make sure our product is refined and memorable,” says Sahil. “Gin is still trending. Sales are good and people are keen on trying new products. There is definitely space for another gin. And, we have the network to push the product.”

Satiwa will launch soon, with June being the aspirational month for release. While Sahil’s initial plans called for a summer release, he ended up deciding to wait for the end of urrak season. 

Currently, the Adwalpalkar group’s hospitality brands include SinQ, Soro, Soho, and the newly opened Sake in Assagao. They intend to push the gin out through their existing spaces, and hit retail stores as well. As part of their launch, they will be putting up Satiwa lounges at their existing restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs serving special cocktails with their gin. After Goa, they also have plans to take Satiwa to Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.

Soma is beginning its journey with gin, but coming up, is a homegrown rum. Satiwa will retail for Rs 1,650 in Goa.

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